Threading and Converting to Coverstitch a Baby Lock Diana // Stretch Yourself

This series is sponsored by Baby Lock. For over 40 years,  Babylock has been dedicated to the love of sewing by creating machines for sewing, embroidery, quilting and serging – all with ease-of-use, high quality and a touch of elegance.

Some of you know that I learned to sew when I was 12 years old in my local 4-H club. I had a wonderful teacher who was dedicated to precision sewing, and over the next year or so I learned many techniques I still use today.  Then I entered high school and found all my fashion needs met by the DI and the Gap, and during college I mostly pulled from my roomate’s closets (sorry Martha, Renae and Robin!) It wasn’t until I had my first daughter almost 6 years ago that I started to really get back into sewing, and since then knits have been on my cutting table more often than not. Although a normal serger is fantastic for construction, I found myself constantly frustrated over the last few years when trying to produce a really professional finish for hemming etc.  I used a every finishing technique available to me, and still found myself dealing with the same problems over and over: snapped threads and skipped stitches.  I would always ogle the hems of my ready-to-wear clothing and wish upon a star that I could reproduce those beautifully even straight stitches on the right side, with the beautiful serged backing on the wrong side. It was like the magical mystery of RTW, and I had no idea that it was possible to do at home! Once I did discover this incredible truth I later learned was called a coverstitch (straight stitch on top, serged finish on bottom), I knew I could never be happy in this life without one (not at all inclined to exaggeration here!)

mad mim_stretch yourself_threading and converting a babylock Diana_1When Miranda and I first began discussing a collaboration, there was never any question what it would be about. We are both crazy about sewing with knits, and it was only natural to want to talk about our mutual passion.  As we worked and developed the series, we were so thrilled to partner with Baby Lock, whose serger and coverstitch machine would shine as the star of our series. Baby Lock provided both Miranda and me with a Diana serger as part of our collaboration for the series, and we have both wondered how in the world we ever got along without them. Not only is the Diana an amazing serger, but it quickly converts into a coverstitch machine–finally giving me the opportunity to (efficiently! It’s so much faster!) construct and finish my clothing professionally and functionally. No snapped threads, no skipped stitches, SO much stretch and all with the powerful and efficient precision of a serger.  My world is now complete! I think I may have danced a little jig the first time I sewed with the coverstitch function, and I still get a little buzz with every subsequent project. I love this machine!

Today I’m going to show you how to thread the Diana, as well as how to convert it from serging mode to the coverstitch function, and you’ll be surprised at how quick and easy it is. Or maybe you won’t, this IS Baby Lock after all!

First up, how to thread the 4 thread mock safety stitch. This is what I most often use for construction, as it has the extra line of straight stitches that makes a nice tight and sturdy seam.  This uses all four threads, so I will show you how to thread both the upper and lower loopers, as well as both the left and right needle.

Now let me demonstrate how to switch from serging to cover stitching. You can easily plan your construction so that do all your serging at once and then switch to finish off everything with your coverstitch, but just FYI, I don’t mind switching several times during the construction process, as it’s really no big deal.

And lastly, I’ll show you how to thread the Diana for coverstitching. One of the things that makes the Diana special threading-wise, is that it has a few shortcuts while threading the lower loopers (for both serging and coverstitching) that make it a painless and heartache-free process (those of you who have sergers already know that the lower loopers are the most difficult to get-at, and consequently the most frustrating to thread).

I hope these videos were helpful! I am giddy over the Diana, (who I lovingly refer to as the Princess), and am so happy to collaborate with Baby Lock to have her as the leading lady throughout our Stretch Yourself series!

Don’t miss Miranda’s Baby Lock Diana post, she has so much great information on what the Diana has to offer, and where and how to use it! (LOVE LOVE LOVE that dress!)

More Stretch Yourself:

Knit Fabrics and Selection at OLM // Cutting Knit Fabric at MM

Making a Pattern from a Tee Shirt at OLM // Drafting a Tee Pattern from Measurements at MM

Basic Tee Shirt Construction at OLM // Finishing Details for Knit Fabric at MM

Tee Shirt Dress Variation at OLM // Peplum Tee Variation at MM

Drafting and Sewing Leggings at OLM // Drafting and Sewing a Maxi Skirt at MM




So a serger just does the typical overcast stitch on the fabric edge, which is great for construction. The coverstitch can do the two lines of straight sewing on the front and the serged edge on the back all in one stitch. If you look at any tshirt (or almost any garment)you’ve ever bought, you’ll see a coverstitched hem. It’s for finishing, and it just makes your clothing look very professional. Good question! I should probably make that more clear!

Dawn TB

I have always loved the IDEA of a serger, but I’m intimidated by all those threads. I have this terror that I’ll use it until the thread runs out and then . . . . . . You make this look easy! Thanks for the boost of confidence, and heads up that it matters which machine you get.

Terry Kessinger

I’m a follower of yours, and because of your series on serging with the Diana, I put one one layaway in January. I also started following Miranda over at One Little Minute because of your references. I asked her, and would like to ask you, too, if you would still recommend the Diana? This series has been so helpful in so many ways (serging, knits, etc.) and regardless of what serger you might get, you’ve shown that they can be mastered. I hope to get my Diana and start using her by mid-summer.


I would!! I really really love it. Before the series I sewed with a Bernette serger, and since then have switched almost exclusively to the Diana because it’s more consistent and less finicky. Converting to a coverstitch is no big deal, and while threading it isn’t as slick and quick as the other jet-threaded Babylocks, it is easier than most sergers and not a problem. I just got it back from the repair shop today actually (I hit a pin and threw off the timing), and the wise old repairman made several comments to me about what a good machine it was. So yes I think it’s great, and would recommend it to anyone–you’ll love it!


I just started sewing with my Diana surger and I’m having trouble with the my coverstitches unraveling. How do you finish off your ends when you use the coverstitch? I’m finding it hard to find the right ends to tie off without a bunch unraveling. Do you have any tips?


I’m sorry this is such a delayed response, but what I do is just go over the very ends with a sewing machine, just backstitching to keep from unraveling!


I’m a little frustrated because I can’t find an msrp on this anywhere online. I called my closest sewing shop (over an hour away) and they won’t quote prices over the phone. I have no idea if this is in the 500, 1000, or 1,500 range. Can you tell me suggested price? Pretty please? Thanks for any ballpark range…


Hi Dannette, I think you could expect to pay between $500-$700 for this machine I’m guessing. I think $700 was the suggested retail when I got it several years ago.


Hi there!
I have a Janome 9200D overlocker, is there any way to get a coverstitch on this machine? Either by threading or getting a twin needle etc?


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